Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): What is it and how does it affect

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): What is it and how does it affect

A survivor of sexual abuse experiences distress, fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, and sadness. Additionally, in many cases, they develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a mental health condition that manifests after a traumatic experience and may include symptoms such as:

– Nightmares and sleep disturbances.

– Reliving the traumatic experience over and over.

– Lack of positive emotions.

– Continuous and intense feelings of fear or sadness.

– Irritable behavior.

– Feeling helpless, hopeless, or withdrawn.

– Denial of what happened.

– Avoidance of places or people associated with the situation.

– Easily startled.

– Negative thoughts and beliefs.

June is dedicated to raising awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that can affect anyone who has been exposed to a traumatic event and can disrupt their daily functions.

While sexual abuse is one of the most related factors to post-traumatic stress disorder, other experiences such as physical abuse, illness, the death of a loved one, abandonment, or emotional neglect can also cause the onset of this disorder. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to the traumatic event defines the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in individuals.


How to identify post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Having suffered a traumatic experience does not necessarily mean that a person must develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as it is normal to present some symptoms after being exposed to a traumatic event. However, in the presence of these symptoms, it is essential to consult with a mental health professional to determine whether this disorder is being experienced or not.

One way to identify that one may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is when a person exhibits the following symptoms for more than a month:

– At least one symptom of intrusive memories: flashbacks accompanied by palpitations or sweating, recurrent memories or dreams, distressing thoughts, and physical signs of stress.

– At least one symptom of avoidance: avoiding places, events, or objects that may remind them of the experience, avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event.

– At least two symptoms of hypervigilance and reactivity: being easily startled, staying on guard or “on edge”, having difficulty concentrating, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, exhibiting aggressive behaviors, showing reckless or destructive behaviors.

– At least two cognitive and mood symptoms: difficulty remembering details of the traumatic experience, having negative thoughts about oneself or the world, having distorted thoughts about the traumatic event that cause feelings of guilt, experiencing continuous negative emotions, losing interest in enjoyable activities, feeling socially isolated, having difficulty feeling positive emotions.

You may also be interested in: Why is psychological support for victims of sexual abuse important?

Is it common for all people to develop post-traumatic stress disorder?

It is not a rule that people who are exposed to a traumatic event have to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. There are several factors that determine whether a person will present this disorder or not.

Factors that may increase the likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder include:

– Having been exposed to a traumatic situation.

– Being injured or witnessing injuries or deaths.

– Suffering traumas during childhood.

– Feeling terror, helplessness, or extreme fear.

– Having little or no social support.

– Facing additional stress after the traumatic experience.

– Having personal or family history of mental illness or substance use.

Similarly to risk factors, there are some resilience factors that help reduce the likelihood of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They include:

– Seeking help from close individuals, support groups, or a mental health professional.

– Learning to feel good about the response to the traumatic event.

– Having coping strategies to overcome and learn from the traumatic event.

In addition to this month, every day is an opportunity to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder. In the #YoDigoNoMas Movement, we invite you to learn about the reality of those who have faced traumas in their lives and to learn how to provide them with the support they need.

With education, empathy, and access to adequate resources, such as those available on our official website, we can help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder heal and rewrite their lives. learn more about the movement and join our cause.